It’s All My Fault

Well, I received some startling news yesterday. I am to blame for how bad the world is today. Yes, me. Throw eggs if you must. I’m readying for law suits. I’ll warn you I don’t have much so participating in a class action suit will likely net you a baby book and a Fig Newton.

How did this revelation come about? I was chatting on line with a group discussing the new HPV vaccine and the ‘supposed’ fact that 25% of girls aged 14-19 have the virus already. I dared to question the accuracy of the study considering most girls under the age of 18 have never had a gynecological exam and would be unlikely participants in such a study. I imagine those included in the study were a handful who were being treated for a known problem. Hardly a strong foundation for launching such an aggressive campaign to suggest one in four girls in junior high have contracted an STD. Never mind the fact that would require at least 50% of junior high school girls be sexually active.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a naive soul living under a rock. I’m fully aware our kids are becoming grossly sexualized and I know more and more are engaging in risky behavior. The messages and influences are everywhere. I am suspect of this report because it was released on the heels of an aggressive push by Merck for its HPV vaccine. This vaccine is expected to rescue the company from its bleak financial position. How handy to imply so many of our youth are sexually active and on the verge of infection. It makes it a lot easier to encourage mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls. A mandated vaccine makes a lot more money than a recommended vaccine. It’s pretty hard to mandate something for adults. Once the females turn 18, the company’s earnings potential dips drastically. It’s not that I know or feel the findings are wrong. I just have no reason to believe they are correct. There is a lot on the line here and I want accurate information.

My concern in the data being incorrect is that it will be used as a platform for other strategies with our youth. On top of mandated vaccinations, I can see sex education in our schools taking on a more extreme form in younger grade levels. I mean, if 50% of 7th and 8th graders are potentially having sex, the schools owe it to our kids to address the issues and teach them how to be safe with their sexuality. In my crystal ball, I can see schools eventually passing out condoms to our kids as an extra precaution. I mean, that’s the responsible thing to do, right? We must keep our kids safe.

Getting back to how I am to blame for the sorry state of the world, an individual I was conversing with felt my inclination to challenge the findings equated to sticking my head in the sand and avoiding the issue of teen sex. Avoidance and running from the problem was the reason our kids were poised to become damaged and infected. He went on to say that a good parent would put their child’s health first and equip him/her with all tools necessary to be safe. To an extent his words ring true with me. I will do what I need to do to keep my daughter healthy and safe. I don’t feel I’m a bad parent, however, for not wanting to put a condom in a 14 year old’s hand and carting her off for her HPV vaccine so she is prepared for some good ole middle school sex.

If 14 year olds are indeed sexually active and contracting STDs, my first reaction is not to start shooting them up with experimental vaccines. It’s not to line their pockets with contraceptives and provide graphic details on all the different types of sex with pros and cons. My first reaction is to stand up and scream at the elements of our society that insist on sexualizing our children. The parents who want to hold on to some shred of hope they can instill morals and values in their children aren’t to blame for how bad the world is. The individuals and organizations that continue to put the almighty dollar they earn for producing filth ahead of the safe and well being of our kids are at fault. The movies, magazines, pop artists, fashion gurus and advertising companies who continue to make raunch, promiscuity and unhealthy choices cool should be the ones on alert. So many companies and individuals are profiting from the continued sexualization of our kids. Now pharmaceutical companies are poised to do the same. Sure, at least they have a more noble angle. Still, a lot more money is generated by our kids being sexy and promiscuous than is generated by our kids making sound and conservative decisions. That should get every parent’s attention.

I’m not removing parents from the equation in the solution. Parents must stay close to the process and be prepared to take action if there seems to be no way to avoid a negative outcome. I certainly don’t want my daugther to get sick or pregnant to prove a point. Parents need to step up to the plate and get more involved in their kids’ lives. They need to do it collectively too. A mother and a father are no match for the multi-million dollar campaigns targeting our children every day. 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 parents might make a difference though. We need to stop buying products promoting (or endorsed by those who promote) irresponsible behavior. We need to quit handing money over to the very people who are acting against the best interests of our kids. We need to demand more information on how our kids are spending their time. We must put our foot down on the clothes our kids are wearing. We need to turn the television & computer off and spend real time with our kids. We need to make it clear what expectations we have of them and why they are important. We need to live in a manner that sets a positive example of the choices we are hoping our kids will make.

4 Responses to “It’s All My Fault”

  1. reeveslady says:

    Whatever happened to teaching abstinence? Yes, some kids will do whatever they want to do (and, yes, those kids should be as prepared as they can be), but I know for a fact that some listen to the message and (big shocker) actually wait until marriage. Or at least until they are ready to deal with the consequences of sex.

    I, too, am sick of all the images that bombard our kids these days. And I agree about the clothing they sell, especially for little girls. Bikinis for babies? I don’t get it. Call me crazy, but I don’t think you should wear a bikini until you have boobies. What really gets my goat is that the marketing gurus out there are targeting these girls to make them believe they need these clothes. I read an article that was explaining this phenomenon. Girls who are 6 and 7 already feel the need to wear name brands and accessorize. I didn’t even know what name brands were until I was 12 or so!

  2. lisa says:

    Yeah, they have thongs for 5 year olds now. Ridiculous.

    I was walking through the mall the other day just looking at the kids. The clothing was so tight and revealing. It’s just insane. I felt sad for them and mad at their parents.

  3. Lori says:

    You hit the nail on the head here. I just remember what my mom said to me when I was about 14 or 15 and wanted the “super-cool” clothing they had for girls our age. She said…”Lori, can’t you possibly think of a more creative and meaningful way to express yourself than the types of clothes you are wearing?” It really struck home with me.

    I also think that kids today have LOUSY role-models. Actors and sports professionals have done nothing but show our kids that they way to get extra attention is not to be good at what you do, but to be the most crazy, the most “out-there”, the one who parties the most. Children learn what is “correct” by watching and copying what they see. And what do they see? Lying, cheating, stealing adults make the news and get the attention. And what do kids today want? Attention.

  4. lisa says:

    Lori, I love what your mother said to you. I’ll have to store that one away for when Olivia is older. What your mother’s words show is that is only takes a second to deliver a message that sends a child in the right direction. Your mom’s words were but a breath on her lips and they’ve stayed with you all of this time. That’s the kind of mom I want to be. I’ll bet it’s easier to remember that than all of the things your mom let you buy.